Lawsuit Accuses EA Of Lying About Battlefield 4

Lawsuit Accuses EA Of Lying About Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4’s PC version has had some problems since launch. For some, this is an annoyance and an inconvenience. For others, it’s grounds for a lawsuit.

We’ve already seen one firm consider taking the giant publisher to court, but there’s now a second, filed in a U.S. District Court and which is the first step towards a class-action lawsuit.

As reported by Gamasutra, securities law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP have filed on behalf of a Mr. Ryan Kelly “and anyone else who purchased EA stock between July 24 and December 4 of this year.”

The suit will claim the same as the first: that EA essentially lied during Battlefield 4’s development, repeatedly boasting of the “quality” of a game that they knew would be marred by technical woes after launch in order to boost sales.

I see two things wrong with this. The first is that I think they’re using different definitions of the word “quality”. EA seem to be referring to the quality of the content, while the suit is referring to quality in terms of functionality.

Example: “Hey, this story is great!”, vs, “Hey, this book’s pages are falling out!”.

The second is that it also seems bananas. It sucks when a game doesn’t work, but taking a company to court over it – when that company has had to deal with the complexity of PC compatibility and has worked continually to fix those issues since launch – seems a tad extreme, at least so soon after release, and sets a very dangerous precedent.

EA taken to court by investors over Battlefield 4 [Gamasutra]

Complaint [Case Docs]


  • Well, if the functionality doesn’t work enough for you to access the “quality” of content, isn’t that still wrong?

    • +1 Completely legit. I paid $80 for a game that was barely playable for a month after I purchased it. Now its better but still not what I would call a finished game worth $80 when compared to say… every other game I have player ever (note I did not play Sim City which by all accounts might have been worse that BF4 at launch).

  • I do think suing EA is a dumb move.

    That being said I would say they really needed more work with BF4, perhaps a pre-order or open Beta to test things would have been a good idea.

    EA seem to have shipped two big games in an incomplete state recently the last being Simcity.

      • Except EA’s idea of a beta is to release a demo of the game that build’s hype before release, completely ignoring 90% of the bugs and issues that people report then release the full buggy mess to all the people who got sucked in by the hype-train.

  • I don’t know. From a shareholder’s point of view, you expect a company to make a quality product and launch a quality product. That means that the thing, at the very least, will function correctly. ‘Fit for purpose’ as the Trade Practice Act here would put it.
    Secondly, you would expect that the product itself, in this case the game, would have quality content. This is much more subjective, and would be hard to bring a case against.
    The game being launched severely broken, especially a AAA release, is not in the shareholders interest, and it is hard to believe that at least some of these issues were not known at the time of the launch. I couldn’t get a game to work a week in, and that was on a fresh install of windows, on a pretty standard PC.

    The argument here is that they knew it was broken and sold it anyway, if they sold faulty toasters where a truckload of them wouldn’t work at all, or would only burn your toast, or would only work in some kitchens, and did so knowingly, hoping that they could fix them later while raking the cash in now, then I can see a group of shareholders launching an action.

    The games market is complex and difficult, but making games is what EA does. It is really *all* it does, so you would expect they know how to get it right. For something to launch in such an appallingly broken state, is, in my uninformed opinion, not right. 🙂

    • Exactly, many people sit here defending EA for what they have done, I for one am not. They pushed and pushed for the obvious reason of competing with CoD: Ghosts and in turn made the developers (DICE) release and unfinished and unpolished game.

      I hope the shareholders win and EA loses as the AAA game industry needs a kick in the ass to wake up from the atrocious annual releases.

      • Yeah and then Ghosts was an absolute dog of a game which they didn’t need to compete with anyway! Reviewers finally came out and said “Hang on a sec! This is the same old shit as MW1!”

  • I DO think that companies, like EA, need to be held accountable for releasing products, intentionally, broken (Sim City)

    I DONT think that taking them to court like this is the way to do so

  • All I can say is be careful what you wish for. If this lawsuit succeeds, what happens if the next game by Mojang is buggy? Or Valve? Or Bethesda? Or Obsidian? What if Star Citizen, heaven forbid, turns out to be a mess on release? Will people be clamouring for them to be taken to court?

    The law doesn’t just apply to companies people hate, like EA OR Activision. It applies to everyone. And 5 years from now, the headline could be ‘CD Projekt files for bankruptcy after Witcher 4 class action judgement’. Unlikely I know, but possible.

    • And then companies might start doing a better job! Personally I’d rather not have a game if it’s not finished.

      The last three EA games I’ve purchased have all had issues: SimCity, BF4, NFS Rivals (a month later, and basically unplayable). Love the games but I could have waited an extra six months for a proper job.

    • Big difference between releasing a game with unseen bugs and releasing a pile of steaming garbage knowing full well it is not complete or even working properly. There in lies the difference and the problem with your example. (Although Bethesda are guilty of the same with Skyrim and PS3)

    • Companies that use the early access programs on Steam pretty much ensure that this won’t happen. Mojang release stuff clearly marked as ‘Beta’ so you know that it is going to be buggy.
      There are right ways to do this, EA doesn’t give a shit and releases broken games anyway, they (and any other company) should be accountable for that sort of practice.

    • I think this lawsuit is a good thing and perhaps what the gaming industry needs. It is becoming FAR too often that game companies release amazing demos or videos and then not only under deliver, but sometimes release things that simply aren’t playable. Often this is because it has been rushed. And how do we find out? By buying it at full price to play it. Too many companies care about getting money on the books before ensuring they release a complete, finished, quality game that lives up to expectations they have already set. A few lawsuits aimed at the worst offenders might remind them that we pay money for a complete product – not to beta test.

    • Metacritic is the North Korea of gaming reviewers. “Everything is great here….people are happy and have nothing to complain about”

      • I know. I know that very well. But you just know that if a court case was made of this that the metacritic scores would be brought into it.

  • What kind of wanker takes a game developer to court for a ‘bad’ game. EA has acknowledged they have issues and are working on them. Some people obviously have too much time on their hands and too much of a stick up their arse.

    • The game developer has not been taken to court; in this case it’s the publisher. Sure, it seems a bit harsh, but I wouldn’t rush to defend EA any day of the week. The most likely case is that they pressured DICE and pushed an unfinished product to shelves in an attempt to stifle their competitor (Activision / CoD: Ghosts).

      The developer (DICE) hasn’t done anything wrong; it’s clear that they have been working hard to get the game into proper form since release. Who can blame them, when they were likely given a strict deadline? They’re just trying to get the product into working order.

      This suit’s on EA for knowingly releasing an unfinished product. And to be perfectly honest, they’ve ‘earned’ it. I don’t have much faith in its chances of success, but since EA suffered the same issues with Simcity, I certainly wouldn’t side with them.

  • it has the exact same issues battlefield 2 had at launch. no one beta tests anymore. everyone beta tests when its released as built. I dont blames these ppl one bit!

  • I’ve actually been thinking a lot lately that people are losing their understanding of what a “lie” is. Check the steam forums for literally ANY indie game and you’ll have people obviously misunderstanding what words like “unfinished” and “price” mean.

  • The second is that it also seems bananas. It sucks when a game doesn’t work, but taking a company to court over it – when that company has had to deal with the complexity of PC compatibility and has worked continually to fix those issues since launch – seems a tad extreme, at least so soon after release, and sets a very dangerous precedent. If you re-read the article, you will find it’s nothing to do with that. The reason there is a court case is because certain shareholders are looking at the fact that EA execs were saying that the game was going fine and of a high quality, causing the shareprice to inflate due to high sales expectations and then sold their shares at the inflated price.

    This looks a little suspicious, especially when you look at what was actually released. The hard part though is going to be proving that EA knew the game was actually of a low quality and actively lied about it. For anyone that has a passing interest in the stock market, insider trading and falsified reports in order to boost stock prices are nothing new. There is no dangerous precedent, just business as usual.

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